Former world junior girls’ champion D Harika was eliminated from the World Chess Championship after losing to Chinese Ruan Lufei in the rapid tiebreak games of the pre-quarterfinals in Hatay, Turkey.
After putting up her best ever effort in the World Women’s championship, the pressure eventually got to the Andhra-based Grandmaster. The Indian lost the first game with white pieces in the first game of rapid and her quest for a comeback in the return game did not materialise as Lufei managed a draw to make it to the semi-finals.
Grandmasters Koneru Humpy and the Chinese duo of Yifan Hao and Zhao Xue were already in the semi-finals in the classical games and the inclusion of Lufei means that one of the last-four clashes will be an all-Chinese affair.
For her efforts in the championship, Harika won $12000 out of which 20 per cent will go to the World Chess Federation.
Playing white in the first game Harika faced the Slav defense and had a small edge in the middle game thanks to her Bishop pair. As the game took a tactical shape, Lufei was the first to strike and won a rook for knight.
The technicalities remained but the Chinese player was determined to calculate everything in quick time. Harika resigned after black promoted one of the pawns to a queen.
In the second game, Harika needed a victory to force further tiebreak games, but this time again, Lufei did not give many chances from a Pirc defense game. Harika faced some complications but they did not prove enough and after subsequent exchanges, the players reached a Knight and pawns endgame in which there was no chance for a decisive result.
Humpy will meet Yifan Hao in the semi-final while Lufei will take on compatriot Xue in the other last-four clash.